Sunday, June 26, 2016

Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump

I recently taught a writing workshop for children at Elgin Community College, and learned that kids, or at least these kids in particular, were highly politically aware .. no, not aware.. charged.

The kids ran anywhere from 10-14 years of age, and they had been following Donald Trump's bigoted xenophobia with fear, anger and dislike. 

At one point, I had them write lyrics,and one of the girls (yes, Trump seems to have alienated girls in particular), wrote a song called,Trump. The lyrics went something like this: 


Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump
Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump
Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump

So as I read her lyrics out loud, the rest of the kids started 'singing' along, enthusiastically shouting,'Trump, Trump, Trump.'  College kids walking by the classroom looked inside, alarmed at a bunch of pre-teens boisterously chanting Trump's name.

Later I had them write a story where each person would write a single line, and pass to the next person to continue the story. Here's what they came up with, with absolutely no (I repeat, no) input from me:

I'm not as concerned about the future of our kids now as I was before this.



Monday, June 6, 2016

​The Repossessor
I'm not a big guy ... 6 ft, 180 lbs of fine tuned swimmer muscle surrounded by fat cells composed mostly of Fannie Mae Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream. But I'm a lot bigger than I was in 1985, when I was .. the Repossessor.
Yep, I used to track down nefarious no-payers, and wrestle from them the car, boat, television set, motorcycle or even homes they used as security to borrow money from us at what I admit now were nearly usurious interest rates ... of course, they don't remotely compare to today's payday loans, which can carry rates as high as 700%.  These rates put the Mob rates to shame, but you can't get politicians to take action, because a bunch of this 700% goes towards buying said politicians.
(Norm, this post isn't remotely funny You're ranting about politics again.)
Ah, myself is right again. Moving on, I was rifling through my desk the other day and came across my repossessor license. Yep, it's a real thing, even though it does have way too many 's's in its spelling. Anyway, here's what it looked like:


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

​I'd rather Pole Vault than Time Vault

Have you been reading about the movie John Malkovich made that no one alive will live to see? Just our grandkids, Cher, and cockroaches, and maybe Justin Bieber might stick around for a long time to torment mankind longer than we would like with his very punchable face.
But as far as the rest of us, unless we somehow stick around for 100 years, we're not going to see it. They're gonna premier it at the Cannes Festival, well, not premier, they sort going to say, "hey, we made a movie, and you can't watch it for 100 years. Neener, neener"   Of course this kind of genius means it will win some kind of award somewhere.
But I don't see what the big deal is. Authors do this all the time, writing a book (that quite likely took as long or longer than this movie to create) and no one reads it. Just jump on Kindle and browse through the self-published stuff. Plenty of them never get read, except by their mothers, brothers and wives.  Heck, my own book Helliburton has yet to get a single rating on Kindle, and I've been traditionally published five times and had several best selling authors blurb my books.
So for me, that movie I won't watch is as relevant as the lottery prize I won't win, the Justin Bieber music I won't listen to, and the pole vault over the Grand Canyon I won't attempt.  
Besides, in a hundred years, everyone's going to be underwater from the glaciers melting.



Saturday, May 14, 2016

Hygiene Wars

When I went to the Erma Bombeck Writer's Conference last month, I thought I packed everything I might need. I had a brush, to help guide the four hairs that have stuck with me through what people laughingly call the 'balding' stage of life. I had a choice of warm weather and cold weather clothes, because, after all, it was in Ohio. 
God, I love that name, "Ohio." It's so friendly. It's like, "oh' and 'hi' and 'oooooh.'  What fun, and what a great place to have a humor conference.  That, and we were in Dayton, whose name didn't change to Nighton when the sun went down.
So I thought I had everything, that is, until it was time to brush my teeth, which, unlike my hair, have stuck with me through this adventure we call life. 
But that's when I learned I forgot my tooth brush, my rechargeable spinning 'startle-the-food-out-of-my-teeth' brush of wonder.  But I knew hotels like the Marriott would realize that forgetful people like me also travel occasionally, so I went down to the lobby to score myself a temporary replacement.
​Fortunately, I was right. And, because it was the Marriott, they had the Rolls Royce of dental hygiene ... the 'Deluxe Dental Kit."
Thanking my lucky stars I wasn't staying at one of those cheap ass hotels that only carry the 'Basic' Dental Kit, I scurried back to my room, where I soon discovered I had forgotten another essential of hygienic necessity, anti-perspirant.
What to do?  
I elevatored back down to the lobby where I checked their entire collection of arm-pit deodorizers. Which consisted of absolutely nothing. Nope, not a single one. No Right Guard, no gels, no sprays, nothing strong enough for a man, but made for a woman. Nothing.
And then I noticed the dryer sheets.



Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Mom doesn't need no stinking flowers or candy

It’s nearly Mother’s Day!

Yep, time to reflect on the wonderful women who brought us into the world, wiped our snot, cleaned our diapers, broke up our fights with our siblings and always, always miraculously  had in her purse whatever was needed for whatever baby emergency we caused.

Even murderers have mothers, and to these mothers, the feral beast in incarceration is still her little boy. That’s why sports heroes always say, “Hi, Mom” when in front of cameras. That’s why sailors in the war had “Mom” tattoos.  

Yes, without mothers, we would not have been at all, and you wouldn’t be there not reading the words I would not have been here to write.

But we tend to forget important things, like anniversaries and birthdays, and this leads to hurt feelings and angst and consternation and other words that connote unhappiness and discontent.

This is where the advertisers come to our rescue.

So with Mother’s Day approaching, the airwaves are inundated with ads and commercials not just reminding us of this anointed day of wonderfulness, but suggesting ways we might show our love.  Flowers and candy, of course, lead the way, but here are two other suggestions making the airwaves:

The Squatty Potty: What a great way to show Mom you appreciate all those times she wiped your little chubby baby butt?  And it’s made in America! Just like you, unless you weren’t, in which case this sentence made no sense.

But everyone knows that a mother would fiercely defend her baby from danger or a dangerous attacker. So now that you’re grown up, it’s Mom that needs protection, so what better than the Tigerlady Self-Defense Claw. It’s like your Mom morphed into the family tabby with retractable claws, capable of capturing the DNA of the attacker, assuming your Mom left anything left of the attacker to prosecute.

Two lovely practical gifts to illustrate how much you truly appreciate and cherish the woman who brought you into this world.



Friday, April 29, 2016


I noticed the smudges on the wall in the warehouse restroom at work, but never really thought much of them ... or bothered to closely examine them. I figured it was normal warehouse dirt .. until this appeared: 

 I've been practicing my empathy lately, so I tried to imagine what would go through this guy's head ... wait, how do we know it was a guy?  It's entirely possible that one of the women from the office would come back here rather than use the cleaner, exclusively-for-women restroom in the office, but not willing to spread boogers in their lounge.  

So I looked around. If a woman was sitting on the toilet, mining for boogers and wiping them on the wall instead of using the very convenient toilet paper all rolled up and ready, all of the boogers would be within arm's length of the toilet while sitting.

Aha! There were many that were well out of reach! But definitely within reach of a standing guy, who, I forgot to mention, often doesn't bother to lift the toilet seat before peeing. But that's another post. 

Our culprit was definitely a guy. And someone who wants to show his disdain for either his employers, or his fellow employees. So what would motivate a person to be mad at his employers? Maybe he didn't think he made enough money. Who did I know that doesn't make enough money?  


Hmmm, was I the culprit?  I frowned, studying one of the boogers carefully. Nope, the smudges were much thicker than what I would make. I mean, my hands aren't like Donald Trump's, but they're the right size for me.

So I was ruled out. The women were ruled out. That left about fifty possible suspects.

I wondered, could it be the guy who never flushes the urinal? It was always a joy to show up to pee and see a frothy yellow stinky liquid pooled in the bottom of the urinal.

Or was it the guy who uses twenty paper towels every time instead of one of two, causing us to run out of towels near the end of the day. Nah, I'm sure booger-guy doesn't bother to wash his hands. He probably loads up a finger with booger, picks up some more toxic niceties when he wipes, and then just leaves with all of this on his hands.

Then he proceeds to go touch the coffee maker, the copy machine, the refrigerator door, maybe other people's lunches, the door ...

I looked at the door knob, all innocent and covered with feces, pee droplets and boogers.

My head snapped around to the paper towel holder. Empty. Twenty-papertowel guy beat me to it. And I realized...

I'm trapped!


Friday, April 22, 2016

I can beat up Justin Bieber ... or can I?

Warning: I'm going to give you a little peek into a guy's mentality.  Not every guy, I admit, but most guys.

Seriously, ugly stuff coming up, so read on only if you think you can stomach it.

(last chance to not read on).

Okay,  if you kept reading, it' s not my fault if I change your opinion of guys forever (or at least of this guy).

Here goes ... when a couple guys meet, the reptile brain of each guy goes something like this:

"I can take this dude," one of the guys thinks to himself, smiling nicely while squeezing the toothpaste out of the other guy's hand

"Whoa, not messing with this guy," the other one thinks simultaneously, trying not to wince as his ring bites into his ring finger like an angry weasel.

Or two more closely matched dudes eye each other speculatively, wondering just how things would have turned out - think the Spartans against the Persians - if the situation didn't call for civilized behavior and polite talk about sports.

Of course we get this kind of behavior from Mother Nature. Various male deer rubbing antlers against each other, a couple bulls slamming heads, two gorillas wrestling for control, a couple lions ripping into each other.

It's the way we're supposed to be, so it's sort of natural that when I see some cheeky little punk ass young man, like, say, Justin Bieber, behaving in the way we see on every tabloid in the supermarket, the guy part of me can't help but think, "I could beat up that little punk."And then the little movie theater we guys all keep in our brains would show me a little video of a young, acrobatic me Kung Foo'ing Mr. Bieber's smug little girly face.

I saw a picture of Justin Bieber the other day. All muscular and ripped. I guess he's into mixed martial arts?  I''m 57 now. My karate days are thirty years behind me ... and I realized...

... my worst fear.

Justin Bieber could  kick my butt.